Wednesday, January 29, 2020

this week in class...


I took this reference photo two or three years ago; I think I was drawn to the overlapping planes.
This painting is pretty true to the photo. I did add the car, which is why it's out of scale!
When I do this again--and I will because I think I can improve it--I'll make it less of a close-up ... maybe put the ocean in the background?
And I'll change the colors of the houses and roofs: too many midtones here; I think I need to get some stronger high-low contrasts in there to make the scene brighter.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020



A sparrow in the snow.
I love sparrows, and these little scenes give me a chance to work on my grays.

Sunday, January 26, 2020



As with recent boat painting, I settled on a technique at the end rather than the beginning! At least I'll know what to do next time.
Here, I painted the bird and the more prominent branches then began thinking of the background.
So, I wet the background with a light warm-to-cool wash and painted branches into it using palette grays. I wasn't happy with some on the left, so I smushed them together. When it dried, I added a few more light branches.
Did I overdo it?

Saturday, January 25, 2020

portrait class


I'll be starting a portrait class this week. I'm not interested in portraiture per se, but I thought paintimg people would be a good challenge ... Sometimes challenges yield good results.
The teacher is an oil and acrylic painter, and that's where the focus will be, I guess, but I'll be using watercolor. If I get brave, ink.
I surreptitiously (or not so surreptitiously, according to my friend) snapped pictures of this young woman at an outdoor bar in Atlantic City. I liked the strong light, and her hair is a gorgeous deep copper color!
The shadows on her face, especially around her mouth, are a little weird, but maybe will work better in watercolor. 🤞

And a page of blind contour drawings from lesson 1 of sktchy's 30 faces 30 days online class

Friday, January 24, 2020



Looking for subjects to paint over graded washes...
I wanted to not create a hard line between the boat and the water, especially on the shaded side, and may have gone over it too many times. But, on my last pass, I finally hit upon the technique that gave me the effect I wanted: with the painting on a 45 degree angle, put on some realtively strong paint, then flooded it with water.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

in class today

...we painted clouds. The idea was to work with paint-to-water ratios and hard and soft edges.
Have to say, I found this very relaxing, painting madeup forms, just "practicing."

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

back to class ...

                              @ 7x10

This week went back to class with my friend and teacher Marie Natale.
We worked on small (imagined) landscapes painted over graded washes, one neural, one in color.
A good exercise 1) is using a "bead" to create a smoothly gradated wash and 2) using value to show distance ... 
Dis a quick apple sketch this a.m. too. Maybe beginning to understand the volume?

Monday, January 13, 2020

studies: 3 apples, 3 days

@ 6x9 each

My neighbor gave me a big basket of fruit that contained some Delicious apples; since I usually find I don't like to eat them, I thought I'd try painting them.
May go back to eating them! Seriously, I'm having some trouble with these apples! 
When I first started painting, I used to paint apples all the time ... MacIntoshes. The Delicious apple is more difficult for me: 1) I cannot get the color, neither the dark red nor the almost translucent yellow-green that you can see in places, and 2) I somehow cannot really grasp the volume, the shape ... where it turns, where it's flat; I have tried some different lighting, hoping it would help but I haven't hit on the magic formula yet.
These are some quick studies. I was of course hoping to get a reasonable facsimile of a Delicious straight off, but since I didn't, and can't, I'm going to keep trying to figure it out.   
And I'm open to suggestions!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

plein air: park in FL


I went to FL last month to celebrate my sixtieth birthday with my brother and our good friend Mike, who is also a watercolorist, and a fine potter too. (Really, he can do pretty much anything.)
Mike and I managed to get out for some plein air painting one afternoon; we sat under a shelter and painted while it rained.
I wasn't able to find something to focus on, so I looked as it as a chance to practice palm trees.

Friday, January 10, 2020



Little, uncomplicated bird paintings are a good way for me to get back into a semi-regular painting practice.
Planning to focus on birds for the next month or so.

Instagram has a widget that selects your nine most popular post of the year; these are mine. Most of the paintings were done recently; the top left and bottom right are from the summer.
You can find me on Instagram as: laurastarrett

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

happy new year


My last post was in September, and now it's January?!
I have been doing a little (a very little) painting, but going through one of those fallow periods ... 
When I have painted something I've posted it on Instagram, which is very easy to do!
Sometime last year my phone stopped letting me post to Blogger; so I had to go back to the old way: photographing a painting, uploading to the laptop, then posting it.
Then, the photo software on my laptop stopped letting me post to Blogger; so now I upload the phot, then upload it to another file then ...
I've got to figure out how to streamline this process!

I bought the palette below--which has removable 42 paint wells (which I really like) and comes with an optional turntable (also like)--from Robax.
Believe it or not, this is NOT their biggest palette: there's one with 85 wells!
Just have to fill it ...